My review of my professional and personal roller coaster ride through 2014   5 comments

I should perhaps mention that I don’t like fairgrounds rides – at all – even the ‘Galloping Horses’ are a bit much for me. However this year the only way that I can think to describe both my professional and personal year, is as a roller coaster ride; a ride that I have been on, often against my will, hanging for dear life, or screaming ‘STOP, I want to get off’; a ride with  exhilarating highs, which have overcome (or at least squashed for a bit) my fear; a ride that to me seems to have gone round and round in circles too many times with the all familiar feeling of ‘has no one got any common sense – can’t they see that reinventing the wheel, giving things different names will not make the experience any better, why don’t they just press the stop button, ask some experts’ advice, and get back to basics based on well-known theory and evidence based practice that works?’

One of the problems of course is the people (government) controlling the professional roller coaster that adults from the early years field  are on, are doing so just because they have a name badge that says they can. These people have no training or qualifications – or supervision from those who are qualified and experienced – they just turn up on the first day of their job – and get on with it – in the only way they can – their way!

Which results in accidents, even fatalities and a whole lot of people like me, who really do not want to be on a roller coaster but who feel they should be, to protect the children who have been told by those with the name badges, ‘Oh yes, you can – in fact you should / must experience these rides that you are not developmentally ‘big enough’ for yet, and which may cause damage to you in many ways.

And my personal roller coaster ride has been as unpredictable and at times as scary, but also at times more like one of those rides for the whole family, where you are taken gently through a journey of discovery with an enjoyable surprise around almost every corner.

And so, this is my reflection of my year on the roller coaster ride through 2014, some of it will be about my childminding. some about my campaigning, and some about my personal life, as of course my personal and professional lives combine to make me who I am, and therefore my experience of not just the roller coaster ride, but the whole funfair. It is not a campaigning blog, it is just an honest, personal recall which for once I have written for my own benefit, but which others may be interested to read.

As an aside, my blog stats tell me this final blog of 2014, is actually my 100th blog this year – not bad for someone who blogs in her spare time (which at times is in very short supply), and who freely admits has a bit of an issue with words.

Please note within each ‘monthly section’ of the ride, I have just recalled my memories –and in no particular order (and some bits may have got jumbled up in my memory). I have not put links to the original blogs about my experiences – and in fact some bits are being written about for the first time – but if you the reader do want to read any of the original blogs –use the ‘search box’ as it works quite well.

Santa had hardly had time to hang up his red suit and have a well-deserved rest, and I had not had time to fasten the safety harness on the roller coaster, before it came crashing down into a unexpected nose dive. Not once, but twice.

First nose dive was the knock at the door from the Ofsted compliance officer on January 6th – there had been a complaint made against me – in fact 3 separate parts to the complaint – all serious in nature and with the possibility that I would be de registered, if proven factual.

I should make it clear, that I believe in people informing Ofsted when they have a concern – in fact they MUST in order to safeguard the children. I would do so myself, and without hesitation. However people who put in malicious complaints should be ashamed of themselves as this not only causes unnecessary stress to the person or setting concerned and even result in settings closing because the stress is too much- it also causes parents worry; it costs Ofsted in terms of time and resources, and also could lead to a serious concern not being investigated quickly enough because Ofsted are dealing with malicious complaints.

Anyway in my case the Ofsted compliance inspector was very happy with everything and stated that in her opinion the complaint was completely unfounded. However, due to procedures at the time, I would have to have a full inspection – this in itself did not bother me, and as I was slightly over the 3 years since last inspection, and I thought it would be beneficial to have an inspection, and have an up to date professional judgement on my practice – especially as I had publicly stated that I would not implement practice that was not in the best interest of the children, and wanted to know Ofsted’s view on my practice.

The second nose dive of the roller coaster (and not something many people know) was the loss of my top teeth (due to very thin enamel on my teeth I had top dentures in my late 40s but had accidentally lost them recently). Not directly professionally related – but certainly had a huge impact indirectly, as I had to face the world (including childminding, attending meetings and so on ) with no top teeth, and only a few bottom teeth, (which were later removed before the fitting of a full set of dentures in February).

On a more gentle and smooth part of the ride, my personal campaign against childminding agencies continued, and I wrote a number of  blogs with the title ‘I have been wondering …..’ which were well received and created a number of valuable discussions and comments.

In a dark section of the ride we had opportunity to take part in the first consultation on childminding  agencies. Like many government consultations it was hard to respond without being led by the hand through the dark, and to go in the directed direction and give the answers they wanted. It was also difficult to see (and not just because a dark section of the ride), what the point in responding was, because it seemed part of a ‘done deal’, and even if everyone shut their eyes and refused to engage in this part of the ride, or bravely stood up while the ride was still going and shouted the responses, so people could hear above the noise of the well-oiled government machinery – nothing would be changed.

In February, Garry (known better in this blog as Mr. Penny’s Place’) and I, held hands, shut our eyes and bravely took our first step on what has turned out to be another slightly different but nevertheless  roller coaster ride – that of becoming foster carers. Fostering Panel actually turned us down because they thought there was a conflict of interest in my job as a registered childminder, and my potential role as a foster carer. Luckily our fostering agency disagreed and we were approved as foster careers.

February also saw the arrival of the Ofsted inspector for the inspection following the malicious complaint, on the morning of 24th February, although the inspector came in for about 30 minutes, I had to ask her to return another day as I had a doctor’s appointment that morning.
I have not told many people this (up to now) but that appointment was more personal bad news and a huge stomach churning twisting downhill bit of the roller coaster ride – my GP had concerns about my health following some routine blood tests, and so wanted to run some more tests – because in his words, if he didn’t find out the cause of my latest blood test results, ‘I was going to fall off the planet’ (or in this case fall off the roller coaster – resulting in serious injury or even death). I was really worried, but had to push it to the back of my mind, as of course I had an inspection to get through. The inspector returned the following day 25th February, I have documented my experience elsewhere on this blog – but let’s just say it was the worse inspection that I have ever had – and I have had a few over the years (and always volunteer to take part in pilot inspections and so on). Of course the inspector did not know but I had other things on my mind, and although up to working and doing my job, l was not at my best when it came to challenging her (although I did my best –  given the circumstances ).

The next day – 26th February was my birthday- but there was news that was both good and bad. My daughter had unexpectedly found out that she was pregnant, this was a shock to us all, but of course news that a new grandchild was on the way is good news. The bad side of the news was that as my daughter would, after the birth, have two children under five,  it would make continuing to work together financially not viable for either of us, and so in the best interests of the children, we took the hard decision to stop working together as soon as possible. As if that was not enough up and down of roller coaster emotions, we also had to start the compliant process with Ofsted, because we were both unhappy with the inspection (and this was before we had seen the draft reports). I was worried about what the health tests would show, I was upset that I would no longer be able to work with my daughter, and I was distraught that I had been given a grade for my inspection that was not based on my practice (some people ask why – after all I got a GOOD, but to me a good that is not based on my practice is not worth having). Despite birthday cake and presents, and friends, family and minded children doing their best to cheer me up, it was not a ‘happy birthday’.

A more positive experience was the response from colleagues and parents to Truss’s plans for childminding agencies. Many wrote letters and sent them to me so that I could give them to her at a planned round table meeting.

Meanwhile a bit of an enjoyable bit of the roller coaster ride – as a direct result of a meeting I had arranged, between myself, Pre school Learning Alliance, Pacey and Laura Henry representing NEYTCO (and with input from ICM-SE and UKCMA) there was an open  letter in the Telegraph about childminding agencies.
A major disappointment occurred when Truss cancelled the planned round table meeting at very short notice, causing myself and others, loss of income and a waste of paid for travel tickets. The childminding community were outraged and to be honest they were responsible for keeping me on the roller coaster, because with all the other ups and downs and almost constant pain from the new teeth, I really wanted to stop the ride and get off.

However, with the support of everyone (and maybe a tightening by some of my safety harness), I stayed on the ride.
The meeting with Truss was rearranged and finally took place – I took around 200 letters from colleagues and parents and gave them to Truss. The meeting though was very frustrating as there was no new information, just more churning out of the same phrases from More Great Childcare.

On the train journey back from London, I took part in urgent phone conversations as our first foster child – an emergency placement – was going to with us by bedtime. The foster child was fantastic, but our (mine and Garry’s) 10 day experience of this particular roller coaster ride was so horrendous that we both seriously considered if we would ever attempt that ride again
More emotional twist and turns of the childcare professional roller coaster ride when Sir Michael Wilshaw’s managed to upset just about all childminders with his comments -and as expected I responded with what turned out to be one of my most popular blogs of the year.
Myself and my daughter continued to navigate the Ofsted complaint system –which was a very unpleasant high speed ride, which dropped into a deep, dark hole, with no way out – not even a escape route, just a blank wall at the end of the drop which to bang our heads against, and to try to climb out without the right resources or support.

Another big dip in the main roller coaster ride – another health issue for me – a frozen shoulder (and I was still undergoing tests for the other issues). It was with arm in sling that I ventured to London again to attend a Westminster Forum, mainly due to the fact that childminding agencies were on the agenda. As always with my trips to London, there were times when I was nervous, scared and well out of my comfort zone of how much of this particular part of the ride I could cope with –and times when I forgot about my fears and enjoyed parts of it.

The roller coaster continued through April, we had the publication of the revised version of EYFS, (dated March but April before I published my blog) to be known as EYFS 2014. Many were unhappy with changes so soon, as we had only just got used to the previous version and had thought that changes were not due until 2016. Anyway we had until September to get our heads round the changes – and so I wrote a blog to support colleagues. However for me personally, I was too busy hanging on for dear life to the safety harness of the roller coaster through my personal and professional experience of the ride, that to be honest, I often had my eyes shut, as I just could not take anymore.
The stress during the ride through April included, continued efforts to get the Ofsted complaint system to work, preparation for the West Midlands Ofsted Big Conversation meeting (which I chair and to which we were expecting a senior Ofsted person to attend) –oh and a visit to the consultant on the same day as the OBC meeting. As I say, I was at the point where I could not take anymore –but as with all roller coaster rides, there is no getting off mid ride, you just have to hang on, and continue.
The visit to the consultant (which was about those concerning health issues from February) was shocking as the news was not good and further tests would be needed, and also uncomfortable, as the consultant decided there and then, without even a local anaesthetic to remove a growth from –well – from a private part of my body.

It was while in discomfort and shock, that I had to go out just an hour or so later and chair the OBC meeting. I am not sure how I managed this, as all I wanted to do was go to bed and cry – what I do know is without my friend and colleague Carol’s support, I would not have managed.
There was further consultation on childminding agencies –and my comments about the first such consultation apply to this one as well.

However, there were some more positive parts of the ride through April. I found myself on a bit of the high part of the roller coaster ride – I was very nervous, not sure if I would survive and enjoy, or if I would be disappointed by the experience. I was to meet a professional colleague, (in a public place, but on a one to one basis), someone who I held in high professional esteem, and who I liked as a person – but I was not at all sure if there was a hidden agenda, and I would find myself in a situation of being unable to say ‘no’ and taken on a part of the roller coaster ride that would hold more ‘out of comfort zone’ experiences for me. The good news was that there was no hidden agenda or frightening bits of the roller coaster ride . The whole meeting was very enjoyable and the start of a professional relationship turning in to a professional/personal relationship based on professional and personal shared values and ethos.

During May, the ride continued to twist and turn. We had the responses to the first consultation on childminding agencies – let’s just say – much as expected and no surprises in the direction being taken.

A high –and mainly enjoyable bit of the ride was attending the Early Education Conference in Edinburgh. Garry, had decided (unusually for him) to come with me, not to the conference but to Edinburgh, and so was also a very enjoyable mini holiday.

With the support of my colleague Linda, and staff from the Pre – school Learning Alliance, we organised and held the first event of the recently reformed Pre-school Learning Alliance, Worcestershire subcommittee – a ‘meet and greet’ session which was a social event but also an information sharing event, including in this case a fun workshop.

And during May, Garry and I did get back on the fostering roller coaster. We had some introductory sessions, as at the end of May our new foster child moved in, on a planned change of foster carers.

As a result of the OBC meeting and professional contacts made with Ofsted, I was given opportunity to a have a phone discussion with a very senior member of Ofsted –Gill Jones. It may not of escaped your notice –that despite my extreme frustration and disappointment with my personal experience of Ofsted inspection and the complaints system –that I am still actively seeking and taking opportunity to work in partnership with Ofsted.

In June there was a brief lull in the twisting, turning high and lows of the roller coaster ride –and maybe something to do with those with government name badges, putting the ride into automatic mode while they thought about re shuffles, and elections –and summer holidays. Whatever the reason, I for one was very pleased to enjoy a slow section of the ride and opportunity to look around and enjoy reading the Pre – school Learning Alliance report on the Early Years, which was based on research and consultation of members. Very interesting reading.

I was also able to enjoy attending the Pre-school Learning Alliance AGM and conference in Birmingham –even though it meant taking an unpaid day off from childminding.
Finally during June, and as well as supporting our foster child in his first weeks with us – and in celebrating his 12th birthday, I was able to do some reflection on planning – and the benefits and disadvantages of both forward and on the job planning.
During July the professional roller coaster came to a sudden halt! No one was allowed to get off the ride – but those with government name badges were suddenly taken off the job of controlling the ride. There was a brief pause and a collective sigh of relief, while those on the professional roller coaster ride waited to meet the new ride controllers. Once in place the new ride controllers Morgan and Gyimah wasted no time in establishing how they would control the ride – which was very soon clear, was with no more expertise or clear direction that the previous controllers Gove and Truss.

In July, I had a major reorganisation of my childminding setting and wrote a blog called ‘Why is the sofa in garden Penny’ which was popular with colleagues and led to requests from colleagues for me to write a book! (Personally I am not sure that I ready for that particular roller coaster ride, or that the world is ready for my attempts to navigate and manage words professionally)

Holiday time – and time to relax, and hopefully have a break from the roller coaster ride – but it was not to be. Although a less bumpy part of the ride, it was also a time of stress, as while on holiday, grandchild nine was due to arrive, and I was worried that I was not at home to provide support; notice was received from a parent  that no longer wanted a place for her child in September, creating general worry about the sustainability of my business from September when three children were due to start school; ……and an unexpected request to consider delivering a keynote speech for a Local Authority – and believe me that freaked me out! On the positive side though I did managed to climb the hill from the campsite for the first time in years, and I did ‘chill out’ some of the time, with my husband, foster child and family dogs.

Grandchild nine arrived late, but safely on the morning of the day we left the campsite, and so I was able to provide post birth support and enjoy those first Granny / grandchild cuddles.
The government published the responses to the second childminding agencies consultation –another case of why bother giving the ride controllers your opinion based on knowledge and experience, if they are going to ignore it. Unfortunately it looks like the roller coaster ride is going to continue to be full of twists and turns, and heading in a direction that makes no sense to anyone.

So into September goes the roller coaster with the new controllers continuing to find their way round all the controls – and making plenty of mistakes in doing so.

I returned to university in a final attempt to gain my degree (having deciding a while ago that a piece of paper called a degree would not make any difference to my ethos, practice, or opinions) – I now understand that our society does place value on a bit of paper called a degree, and so I really needed to at least try to get one. I hope you the reader have noted that I have not said that I won’t increase my knowledge by gaining a degree, because of course I will. I firmly believe that you learn something every day; that you never stop learning; and you never know everything.

I attended the Northamptonshire CMA AGM and conference as their guest of honour – a first for me and being honest another emotional roller coaster ride, of pre stress, getting there stress, meeting new people stress – and sheer enjoyment from the very warm welcome that I received.

In September, I also attended the Nursery World Awards as I had been nominated for the Outstanding Contribution award. I did not win, or even get Highly Commended. However, what I did get was the most fantastic supporting statements from colleagues – including many of the leading people in the early years field, and parents of the minded children. I have printed all of these, and have them in a folder as a keepsake. With hindsight, I realise that award events are really not my ‘thing’ and part of the reason is everything I do is for the benefit of others – children, families and colleagues – and so I am never likely to do well at things, or enjoy things where I have to promote myself or seek recognition for what I do.

We finally had the evaluations of childminding agency pilots – I could have cried or screamed or both! Having endured two years of government hype, and spent two years saying why childminding agencies were a bad idea – (mainly because of the removal of the requirement for agency childminders to be registered with Ofsted) – we get the report – which says nothing new – just confirmed what everyone already knew – but by now it was too late, the government had invested a lot of time and money into this particular new ride (yes, yes – I know they are not putting money up front to support the set up of this new badly engineered ride, but the background work, the meetings, the creative thinking and manipulating of things, the building of the ground works and infrastructure has been expensive – very expensive) – and so as far as the Government controllers were concerned – both those that had just been moved and those new to the job – childminding agencies would be a success – and they would ensure everyone knows that they are the most wonderful thing since sliced bread (although we all know sliced bread is often not as good quality as the tried and tested fresh bread cooked that day).

We had another consultation to fill in – this time on ‘Better inspections for all’, and for the first time the  consultation was available to complete via an online survey type method. An improvement, and slightly more options to leave comments – but it was still very leading with carefully worded questions.
I wrote a couple of blogs about  my university course – and quickly got behind as work load and time pressures overtook me (still the intention is still there, so as they say, watch this space – if the roller coaster slows down in 2015, I may find the time)

Also as part of my university experience, I have found out (been assessed) that I am dyslexic and have dyspraxia indicators as well. I have often thought that I have issues with words, but had not realised that my personal struggle to climb the steps to the helter skelter, were not climbed by everyone else – it seems that the steps for me were very steep and with lots of barriers that had to be climbed over (or gone under – in fact got round in whatever way I could), and even when I got to the what I thought was the top – it was not the top and I could not enjoy the ride down in confidence that I had the skills needed – I was sort of left stranded there mid-way, without a mat to go down on, and without the strength to climb any further up. Still, having read my assessment report, I do feel proud of my achievements – as it has all been achieved why dragging a huge boulder round with me, which as you can imagine is very draining both physically and mentally.

Wearing my volunteer hat I organised (with support of Linda my volunteer colleague and Alliance staff) the Pre – school Learning Alliance Worcestershire AGM. And I am pleased to note here that as a result of this a few extra people have climbed on board the volunteer ‘swinging boats’ – a old fashioned ride that works by everyone pulling together on the ropes,  using whatever skills they have, to ensure the ride keeps going  and that the free ‘power’ of many hands making light work of supporting each other and colleagues.
I wrote a letter / blog to Sam Gyimah, in an attempt to help him think about the importance of the roller coaster ride that he was now controlling – but so far my efforts have been as ineffective as my attempts to help inform Truss. So I remain on the ride, eyes wide open, waiting for whatever twist or turn, or indeed sudden dip in to a dark or unknown part of the ride happens next.
Grandchild ten made her safe arrival, and joined our extending family of children, grandchildren and foster child, on the dodgems, where everyone does their own thing as an individual following interests and personal development; as an immediate family unit, with occasional bumps and frustrations when can’t get the dodgems cars to coordinate direction or speed; and at times as a whole extended family when all come together in times of need and support, and times of celebration and shared enjoyment.

October was also the month that my husband Garry and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary – and celebration of surviving the complex, confusing and challenging ‘Marriage Maze’ which you start together, but then head in different directions walking  on your own with a few dead ends, wrong turns and frustrations when can’t find either the other person or the way out; but then catch sight of each other, reach out, hold hands, and remember your way – together – heading towards the next turn and whatever is around that corner with confidence

November was also a relatively smooth part of the roller coaster ride and whole funfair experience that I enjoyed – I attended the Early Education AGM, this particular ride, which is more of a risk free roundabout ride, than a high risk roller coaster ride, has not always been smooth running, as although always made welcome and allowed to  join in, some of the instructions, terms and conditions have not always been easy to understand, as this ride is very old and when first used was only designed for a particular type of user – however things have changed and now everyone is not only welcome to join the ride, but also is made to feel comfortable and included in every way.

I actually did write and deliver that keynote speech that I had been to consider way back in August – I was petrified of stepping onto this particular ride – it was one of those stand up rides where the sheer force of the ride keeps you standing up, in more or less one position – and once started there is no stopping it – it just keeps going. However, once on this ride, I surprised myself – although nervous of overstepping the safety mark, and doing or saying something that would be frowned on my those paying me to do this, I did actually enjoy it – and think I might venture into trying more of this sort of ride experience in 2015 – that’s if people want me to / ask me to.

In late November the roller coaster ride slowed right down, and I took opportunity to join others in London for a seminar on the 1001 critical days – which was a bit like taking a break from the stress and worry of being constantly on a ride that I would – on the whole rather not be on – and having a nice relaxing picnic by a lake with lots of chat and sharing of information between friends. In fact while in London I did meet with a friend and shared information and had a good chat, over some tea / coffee and crumpets.

I  tried another ride for the first time – the Pre – school Learning Alliance Divisional meeting – some people on this ride were familiar but some faces were new to me – but it soon became clear that this was another ride where everyone had to take an active part in keeping it going – I suppose it was a bit like a rowing boat on a boating lake – one made for many to use at once – everyone has to take turns at pulling on the oars – but there is opportunity to take a breather for a time, while others have a turn. I was actually chosen (voted in) to represent those rowing this boat, at national level, and will therefore be making even more journeys to London in 2015. I only hope that I am able to do my fair share of rowing and therefore support my colleagues in their aims.

December                                                                                                                                                                                           And before we knew it – we had reached December, although this last part of the year on the roller coaster had been a smooth ride with hardly any bumps – there was still plenty going on, including the launch of NEYTCO – and another ride that I have stepped onto as a volunteer as lead for the West Midlands region. This day in London was quite relaxing, as I had a later start than normal for a day in London, I met a friend for lunch, and the launch itself was a bit like a big ‘pirate boat’ type slow and gentle ride, with everyone doing a ‘Mexican Wave’ together, and all singing a rousing song – in unison – before all heading off to their own parts of the country to prepare for end of term, holidays and for some, seasonal celebrations


Summary of the year

There is a lot that I have not recalled here, such as events with our foster child, my involvement with Save Childhood Movement which at times through the year has been hectic with numerous back and forth email discussions.; or the articles and letters that have been published; or my attendance at other conferences and workshops, or other family holidays; or my developing personal and professional relationships with many in the early years sector through my partnership working and volunteering.

On the whole has it been a good year? – well YES – with two new grandchildren, a folder full of lovely supporting statements and some wonderful experiences that I did not even dream I would have when looking forward to 2014 at the end of 2013, a weight loss of over 4 stone, a foster child who has settled and been with us for 8 months now, there have definitely been some very good bits to this year.

However, they have been some very bad bits – the health concerns – which remain a concern but appear not to be so vitally important to resolve quickly  now, but that do of course need resolving at some point.

The awful Ofsted inspection saga – which has had an impact on my motivation to ‘go to unreasonable lengths’ within my childminding practice – not that I have not continued to provide outstanding experiences and opportunities for the children, because I have. But it has been hard to do the ‘extra things’ when you only do them to provide evidence of your practice for Ofsted – and it does all seem pointless when the inspector you get can’t even be bothered to look at that evidence, or to record the things you say, or observe your practice or even have any understanding of who you are, what you do or the impact on all of that on the children in your care – and who cannot even justify the recommendation they  made when asked to.

I will be frank, I have come close to giving up and de registering – but being me I can’t do that and I have to keep trying and volunteering to make things better – hence OBC and offering to take part in the next Ofsted pilots and so on.

As I say a very bad experience, which has impacted on me – and now 10 months later, I am only just finding my full motivation – but I am no longer going to ‘tick boxes’ just because Ofsted say I should, if there is no benefit to me, my setting or most importantly the children I care for. No, the difference that finding my motivation again is going to make, is I am going to challenge more, I am going to ask for justification for why I should do the things that Ofsted say I should but which I can see no reason for doing. And yes this means I am staying on the Roller Coaster ride, I am revamping my well-worn soap box, and I am going to shout a lot more.

2015 looks like it is going to be a challenging personal and professional year for me, but I know that MANY others will be joining me on the roller coaster ride through 2015 – because …..

…… yes because like me they are passionate about the well being of the children of this country, and safeguarding them – in the widest sense of that word – from those who wear government name badges but who should not be in charge of the roller coaster ride – never mind allowed to interfere in the rights of children to develop naturally at their own pace, to follow their interests and dreams, to experience secure family lives and live in a functional society,  as generations of children before them have done.

Maybe, just maybe – 2015 will be the year when those who wear government name badges listen














Posted December 31, 2014 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

5 responses to “My review of my professional and personal roller coaster ride through 2014

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  1. Happy new year Penny. You are an inspiration to childminders and childcarers everywhere. Stay on the rollercoaster we are all on it with you. I’m sure eventually we will convince the powers that be that a fairground is about fun. All our aspirations will win through eventually. Well Done on an amazing year you are our champion.

    • Thank you Ann – and Happy New Year to you as well. I am glad that you (and everyone) is on the rollercoaster with me, as on my own, all I can do is shout – or scream – but together we can be strong, brave – and make our point

  2. Happy New Year Penny, 2014 certainly brought you a roller coaster of emotions from the initial complaint in January, through childminder agency issues, personal health problems counteracted by happier moments of welcoming your first foster child into your home, the safe delivery of two new grandchildren and a nomination for the Nursery World “Outstanding Contribution Award” etc all of which you appear to have dealt with,with fortitude, common sense and good humour. You are a positive advocate for home-based childcare and the welfare of all children. Continue to shout, it only needs one strong voice to encourage others to join you on the roller coaster. My best wishes for a healthy, successful 2015

  3. Pingback: Some very good questions- Why do I blog? What is the purpose of my blog? Do I need to make it more academic? | Penny's Place Childminding

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